Starting A New Bullet Journal For 2019

2018-12-31-11-52-233373859399876302941.jpg

Are you interested in getting your life more organized? Are you interested in keeping track of habits and timelines? You may want to consider bullet journaling. It’s a wonderful time of year to get started, as we are coming up on a new year. I made a post about Bullet Journaling For Beginners, but I wanted to make a step by step post about how to start or transfer a journal specifically for the new year.


Transferring From An Old Bujo

2018-12-31-11-57-201924691579200266278.jpg

Are you transferring a journal from an old book to a new one? Some people choose to do this. They begin in one journal and decide to switch to another. This can be confusing if you’re unsure how to do this. Last year I ran into this problem. I had all my yearly trackers in one journal but ran out of room for the whole year, so I had to continue in a new journal, which left all those trackers behind in my old journal. I had to continuously switch back and forth between the two journals in order to keep track of my progress.

 

Starting A New Bujo

Or perhaps you are starting your very first bullet journal and need a little inspiration and guidance. That’s where this post comes in!

Firstly, if you are starting out brand new, you’ll want to find yourself a journal. I used a moleskine brand dotted journal for my first, but there are so many options to choose from. Some versions have numbered pages, hard covers, soft covers, place marker ribbons, and vary in length and weight. It will be a trial and error until you find one you really vibe with. But for me, I went to my local bookstore and picked up a moleskine because it was easy and readily available.

However, for the new year, I decided to try something a little different. I went with a Leichterm 97. The reason I decided to try this one out is because it has numbered pages and I wanted to make a front index, which is something I’ve never done before in my bullet journaling.


What To Include

 

Index

2018-12-31-11-59-046546816718273006288.jpg

This will be a new feature for me. If you don’t have numbered pages, you can number them yourself or skip this step. As I mentioned above, I didn’t have an index for the first year of journaling and this is something new I’d like to try.


 

Yearly Spreads

2018-12-31-11-52-385714263653528600167.jpg

2018-12-31-11-52-45672658785392271830.jpg

2018-12-31-11-53-077569800521476070178.jpg

Next, you want to list off the habits you want to track yearly. For me, I chose to track all the new people I’ve met, the books I’ve read, and new things I’ve done during the year, as well as adding in a bucket list. 


 

Future Log

2018-12-31-11-54-041976944155415859375.jpg

Following these spreads, you can include a future log, which is essentially every single month written out so you can see the whole year ahead. Leave space to write in your important dates like birthdays, vacations, and projects.


 

Months

Then you can get into your months. Mostly everyone separates their journals by months. You make a title page and then get into your monthly spreads. I tend to stick to the same spreads every month; calendar, to do’s, monthly goals, expense tracker, wishlist, daily gratitude, daily habits, mood tracker, notes, and reflection. You can check out many facebook groups for more ideas for spreads.


Design and Aesthetic

Besides all of the spreads, you might want to decide how you want your journal to look. Some people like to get artsy with it by adding colors, doodles, and sometimes full out sketches. I found that I could not stay consistent with the artsy stuff, and fell into a much more minimalist style. I do incorporate colors, but rarely add much else. But that’s what’s so great about it. You can customize your journal any way you like it!

2018-12-31-11-54-509102012188464191568.jpg

2018-12-31-11-55-064663298619266637321.jpg

2018-12-31-11-55-382228576239391068682.jpg

2018-12-31-11-55-308314201236469571994.jpg

Essentially your bullet journal is a way to keep your life on track and keep your rooted in reality. So good luck with starting your bullet journal! Don’t worry about making mistakes. Have fun, and I hope bullet journaling helps get your life a little more organized.


Was this post helpful? Do you have any other spreads you always incorporate into your journals? Leave your comments down below!

Stay up to date with new blog posts by following me on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

Kat

Wardrobe Essentials: From Casual To Professional

A good friend of mine recently came to me with a request for fashion advice, and like any good attention seeking millennial, I thought, “Ah! I can make a blog post about that!” Because if she’s having this question, I wonder how many others are asking the same thing? There are many a people (myself included) who like to lounge around in sweatshirts, leggings, yoga pants, and tank tops. But there comes a time when you begin yearning for something more stylish, adult-y, or professional.

And you can find many tutorials and guides online for how to update your wardrobe to be more mature, professional, and stylish, but they ain’t my tips! So, without further babble, here are my tips and tricks to add to the collective cesspool of internet advice.

Professional Essentials


Plain Black Leggings
Skinny Jeans
A Well Fitting Bra
Black/White/Beige Cami
Blazer
Heels
Flats
White T-Shirt
Jean Jacket
Little Black Dress
(Faux) Diamond Earrings
Simple necklace


With the above list of wardrobe essentials, you can craft just about any outfit for any professional or dressy occasion. Of course you are encouraged to own more than this, but these are the basics of what I always make sure I have in my closet. You never know when you might need an interview blazer, or a pair of pumps for a party. I find that simple jewelry works best most of the time, unless you are going for the specific look of a statement piece.

General Rules

  1. If you are wearing a baggy top, do not wear loose fitting pants.
  2. If you are wearing a tight top, it goes well with looser pants.
  3. Whoever said you can’t wear brown and black together was seriously disturbed.
  4. Draw out colors in your clothes by wearing accompanying makeup.
  5. If your outfit is lacking, you can make up for it with your hair or makeup.

What Does “Business Casual” Mean?

According to the dictionary,

busi·ness ca·su·al
adjective
1. relating to or denoting a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression.
But what exactly does that mean?

It means you don’t have to show up to work in a full dress suit, heels, and jewelry, with your hair styled and makeup applied. There is some laxity in business casual, but you are still expected to show up looking put together and presentable. You can switch out the heels for flats, ditch the stockings, and maybe even the blazer. As long as what you are wearing isn’t something you’d wear on a weekend out with the girls.

This means:

  • No Short Skirts
  • No Low Cut Tops
  • No Flip Flops
  • No Hoodies
  • No Loud Patterns or Profane Graphic Tees
  • In fact, No Graphic Tees at all
  • No Ripped/Distressed Jeans
  • No Facial Piercings or Tattoos Visible

In essence, you want to dress conservatively, with little room for distractions. If you are unsure about a piece of clothing, don’t wear it, or ask your supervisor if the item is appropriate for the workplace.


How To Dress For Different Events

The Symphony | Don’t wear anything that could jingle or clank during the performance and cause a distraction to others in the theater. This means no bangle bracelets, heavy chains, noisy jackets, or squeaky leather boots. Also, never wear a hat inside a theater as it could block the view of the people sitting behind you. Recently, I’ve noticed a trend of people not really getting dressed up for the theater, which is quite disappointing. If you can’t get dressed up for that, then what can you get dressed up for? I fully support getting dolled up in your finest clothing to appreciate fine art. Even if you are the most overdressed one there, set the standard you want to see in the world!

A Party | Chill with the heels. I know it’s tempting to “go big or go home” and wear the shoes you all see celebrities rocking when they go to parties, but keep in mind that there may not be room to sit, or you may be walking around as you mingle, not to mention dancing. Heels are fine, but make sure that they are broken in and won’t cause any problems by rubbing blisters. If you know they will be a problem, but you just have to wear them anyways, consider adding gel inserts or taping up the spots where they rub.

A Black Tie Event | A little black dress is always classy, and always a safe bet when attending a “black tie event”. If black isn’t your color, opt for a muted shade so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Cocktail dresses are just the thing for an event like this. Pair your pick with some simple jewelry and comfortable but stylish shoes, as you may be standing and socializing for long periods of time.

A Fine Dining Restaurant | The biggest tip here is to avoid perfumes. If you are going to a dinner, the last thing your fellow dinner mates want to experience is tasting your perfume along with their filet mignon. Also avoid clothing with baggy sleeves or flowing materials, as it may get in your food as you eat.


Before You Start Updating Your Wardrobe

Go through your current wardrobe and sort through things you want to keep and need to get rid of. Donating gently used clothing to charity and thrift shops is a great way to help those less fortunate, and will clean out space for your new items at the same time. When sorting, if you haven’t worn it within the year, get rid of it. If you are holding onto it in hopes that you will one day fit into it again, get rid of it. There are so many nice pieces of clothing just waiting to come home with you. Don’t cling to those exes. You haven’t worn them in a while for a reason.


Have any fashion tips for those looking to step up their professional wardrobe game? Leave your comments down below!

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

For Those Afraid Of Love

It’s all fun and games until they like you back, huh?

It seems a little counterproductive, right? You like someone, and yet feel sick to your stomach when they like you back. Why is that? Psychologists would say it’s due to a past trauma that has changed the way you view your interpersonal relationships in life. But not everyone has suffered trauma like that, so why do we sometimes suffer from feelings of repulsion and fear when someone shows interest in us?

You Fear Losing Your Autonomy

This is the big #1. I firmly believe that 9 times out of 10, this is the case. Autonomy is a powerful thing, especially in the age of the internet where being self centered means productivity means success means survival. It’s not entirely your fault. Look at the culture around you. We are encouraged to engage in frivolous flirting, casual sex, and shallow relationships. It seems that these days there are very few people who actually want to commit in a serious way. Well, there are people who want to commit, but, well…that’s why we’re here.

With technology advancing, we are being led to believe that dating is getting easier. Just go on an app like Tinder or Bumble, strike up a conversation, and meet the man of a lifetime. Or at least a night. These apps seldom encourage real interaction. Talking to someone through texting isn’t the same as sitting across from them, feeling their energy, hearing the tone of their voice, and seeing the slight dilation in their pupils. These things speak louder than any text message, because texts can be constructed. How long does it take you to write out a text message? How many times do you hit backspace? We are creating a false persona when we interact on the internet, an ego, if you will. An ego that grows in the most unhealthy way into something messy and confusing and easily hurt. Nothing substitutes real interaction with another human being. Just because they “like” something on your social media doesn’t mean anything. Do you know how easy it is to hit a “like” button? Hell, he could smash the “like” button while simultaneously smashing his ex at 2AM on a Friday night.

But I digress.

Autonomy is so precious to humans. It’s our individuality in an age where everyone seems to be on a special path of destiny. Instead of just working in a shop, having a family, and being, we are convinced that there is some dream out there that we should be chasing. And chasing a dream leaves little time for entertaining a real relationship. We often think our dreams are more important than other people, that we are more important. How pompous! No one is better than anyone else. No one is so special that they can’t carry on a decent interaction with another human being. But being in a relationship means you have to worry about all the boring shit like who has to buy the toothpaste. No one wants to deal with that. They only want a whirlwind romance full of steamy kink-fests and Hollywood banter. We were fed this narrative for so long that we have forgotten what real romance looks like. Real love isn’t Mr. Right. It’s Mr. Right Now.

Being with someone doesn’t mean you will lose your independence. You still have all your own likes, all your own hobbies. You don’t have to meld into the “we” monster. You know, like those girls on tv that always say things like “we are going to redecorate”, “we thought that was so funny”, and “what do we want to eat for dinner”. You can still hang out with your own group of friends. Where did we get this idea that being in a committed relationship means losing ourselves? If you lose yourself, chances are that is a very unhealthy relationship and you should run. Fast.

You Fear Being Vulnerable

Being vulnerable means opening up your beating heart, handing someone a lemon, and trusting they aren’t going to juice you. Who wants to willingly put themselves in that position? That is why most people are more attracted to relationships that they subconsciously know will fail. It’s much easier to screw someone’s brains out and be gone before dawn than it is to share your deepest darkest secrets with them. Sex does not a relationship make. Only vulnerability can make that distinction. When we allow our innermost feelings to be exposed, we open ourselves to pain. That can be a scary thing.

And I firmly believe in every relationship, there is always someone who cares more than the other. There is the one who innately cares, and the one that chooses to care. If you are the one who feels they innately care for the other, chances are good you’re the one who’s going to get hurt. If you’re the one who chooses to care, it’s usually you that will end up hurting the other person. If you choose to love someone, I firmly believe you also have a responsibility to not fucking hurt that person by being dishonest, shady, or dismissive.

It takes a lot of courage to be open about how you’re feeling. Appreciate their courage in telling you, and respect that. (I also have a theory that in D/s relationships, the submissive is usually the innate lover, while the Dom is usually the chooser, as submissives are often more open with their feelings, the ones who do the asking, the ones who lead the Dom. Because if you think the Dom is the one in control in a D/s relationship, you are sorely mistaken. But that is a topic for another post)

I think a lot of relationships fail because neither party wants to be the vulnerable one. Neither wants to be the one who gets hurt by sharing their feelings or saying “I love you” first.

Sometimes Commitment Means Sacrifice

We all know you’d rather sit there eating Doritos and watching episodes of The Office on Netflix for the 30th time in a row, but your partner has a family function to go to, and you are their other half, and therefore have an obligation to get up off your lazy ass and engage in some awkward family bonding. Yes, committing to love means making sacrifices. If you are unwilling to make those sacrifices, chances are good you are still single, and any offer of romance could be met by feelings of repulsion. This probably just means you’re not ready to be in a relationship yet, and those feelings of grossness in your stomach is just your instinctual desire to be free. And what happens when you have to go through the agonizing awkwardness of going to your partner’s family member’s former roommate’s funeral? You’ll have to do all sorts of socializing and talking to strangers! Gasp. The horror. In this case, I would say you are putting the cart way before the horse. Take it each day at a time.

You Care Too Much What Others Think

If you are still at that stage of basing your life choices on what others think, you are probably going to have some feelings of repulsion and fear when your friends go, “ew, you are NOT dating that loser” as if it means something. If this applies to you, then you will forever have the word LOSER attached to his dating profile and will avoid him like the plague even if you had feelings for him before. Don’t let others tell you how to think, my dear. You are your own person, after all.

You’re Just Not Attracted To Them

Sometimes we feel sick when someone shows interest in us because we are just not that interested in them back. That’s perfectly fine! It happens. Biology and all that genes stuff at play here can often leave you feeling a little repulsed by someone we are not compatible with. In this case, it’s probably pretty obvious that tangoing with them, if it happens at all, will be shortlived. Therefore, let’s move onto the next point.

You Fear Hurting Them

If you’re an empath and you know it, clap your hands. This one hits close to home. I am someone who is constantly worried about how others feel, oftentimes over how I am feeling. If I can avoid a situation where I might even cross the path of hurting someone, I will. I don’t like it. It’s a messy business. And someone having feelings is like one big pulsing nerve that the tiniest nick could damage. You may fear having that sort of responsibility for another person’s wellbeing. And as mentioned above, being vulnerable is a difficult thing. When presented with someone making a true show of their emotions, you might get your signals mixed and end up viewing it as a bad thing, because that person may come across as desperate, needy, or codependent. That is something you need to work out inside yourself. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with them. Because being vulnerable does not equate to being desperate, needy, or codependent.

They Remind You Too Much Of Yourself

Ever hear the saying the reason you hate certain people is because you see something in them that reminds you of yourself? You may be projecting your own feelings of self loathing onto them, which isn’t entirely fair. Really try to pinpoint the cause of your negative feelings for those who show interest in you. Is it because they slouch? Chew with their mouths open? Interrupt? It’s possible these are things you hate about yourself, or from a past relationship that you are reminded of. That’s a whole lot of baggage that needs to be dealt with. This person isn’t your ex. This person isn’t you. Try to give them a fair chance instead of judging them based on things that remind you of the negative aspects of your own personality. And then, if you find that these habits or traits are completely theirs, then it would be appropriate to judge whether or not you would be compatible in a relationship. Just make sure you are basing this decision on the truth of the matter instead of your projected issues.

The Pity Party Of A Self Sabotage Just Feels Too Good

Ever met someone who seemed to be the victim protagonist in the dramatic story of their own lives? They play everything out like a Hollywood movie, where they are often the one who always gets hurt and must cope with the repercussions? Be careful you don’t become one of these drama queens. Be careful not to sabotage something just so you can get attention for being hurt or going through a difficult situation. Strange concept as it is, it’s ok to be happy in life. You don’t always have to create anxiety from situations that do not require it. Sometimes it’s ok just to allow someone to show you love.

You Fear Change

That pit in your stomach when you find out you have to pack everything up and leave your comfort zone? That’s what this point is about. Some people just really don’t like change, and someone coming in to your circle of life and trying to offer their way of doing things can be upsetting. If this is resonating on any level, you may want to evaluate your control tendencies. If you are someone who always likes to have things under their own control, being shown romantic advances from prospective partners might automatically make your blast doors close up. Again, it’s ok to accept something new into your life. Just because you enter into a relationship with someone doesn’t mean it’s going to change the fundamentals of who you are. Your life will still be your own, just changed.

You Don’t Do Well With Deep Emotional Displays

I get it. I’m an aquarius. Some people just don’t do well with deep displays of emotion. That doesn’t mean you aren’t a romantic! You might just be more logical than emotional, the yang to the yin. So of course, logically, the professing of feelings or romantic interest might strike you as overwhelming, but don’t forget that there are people that live their lives not by their logical mind, but by following their heart and passions. The simplest way of combatting this feeling of repulsion for someone who lives by their hearts instead of their minds is to communicate how you’re feeling. By expressing that you aren’t exactly comfortable with PDA or being super touchy with them, you create a bridge that they can either choose to cross, or burn. This way, you can both keep your boundaries and no one needs to feel like they were taken advantage of. It’s amazing what honest communication can do between humans in love.

Your Gut Is Picking Up On A Red Flag That You Should Probably Pay Attention To

Or lastly, we come to the golden rule. If your gut is telling you something feels off, trust it. If you feel sick to your stomach when someone asks you out, or won’t stop leaving lude comments on your social media profiles, then chances are good they are bad news bears. In this instance, it is perfectly acceptable to burn that bridge and leave them glowing in embers behind you. Sometimes our gut feelings are there for a reason. Just make sure you know the difference between actually being in danger and just being afraid to fuck with someone who wants to give you everything.


This was a long post, but I hope you read it all, and that it helped sort out some of those confusing feelings. I know I suffer from a lot of fear in the love department. I’m an empath, so I feel things like nervous energy heightened to over 9000. Eeek! I am trying to allow myself to be more open to being loved, and I hope you do too.

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications.

Sunday Pep Talk | You Define Your Own Life

I think everyone goes through a certain phase of their lives in their mid to late twenties where they are just wandering around blindly like a gerbil that escaped from its cage and got lost somewhere in the walls of the house.

There is a crippling belief that you are supposed to have your shit figured out when you graduate college, but the truth is that most people don’t figure their shit out until much later, if at all. If it looks like someone has their shit together, chances are they probably don’t. And if you think you don’t have your shit together, I assure you there is someone out there that looks at you and thinks you do.

What does it even mean to have your shit together in the first place? I think this is a question that each of us has to answer for ourselves. The norm in our culture is to get a good paying job using our degrees, find a spouse, pop out a kid or two, start investing, and wait until we’re 62 and old enough to retire and finally “start living”, whatever that means. That’s the norm, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your life will follow that path. And that’s ok!

We are each on our own path in life, and just because your journey is all wibbly wobbly doesn’t mean it isn’t correct. It’s ok if you went to college but then decided not to pursue a career in the field you went to school for. It’s ok if you decide marriage just isn’t for you. It’s ok if you want to go off and do a really specific job that everyone is going to laugh at you for.

You only get one shot at living (at least that we can remember. Not getting into all that reincarnation stuff, because logically matter can neither be created nor destroyed, only transferred, so logically reincarnation makes a lot of sense, but can you remember any of your past lives? No. So for the sake of argument, you only live once). You only get one shot at this life. Are you going to live it for someone else? Or are you going to say “screw everyone” and follow your dreams?

It’s ok to be lost. It’s ok to not know what you want to be when you grow up, even if you are a qualified adult already. It’s ok to be a late bloomer, or a weird, unique blossom that doesn’t look like any of the other trees around you. Forget about the timeline that others have created. Follow your own timeline. Create your own life plan. Dare to be different and live the life you want to live. You are not running out of time. You define your own life.


Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

Tips to Save More Money

 

wp-15380733153311691826197704648100-e1538074890358.jpg

Hello, lovelies! It’s time for another finance post. I thought I would share with you some tips I have discovered during my twenties that have really helped save me some money over the years. If you’d like to see more finance posts, leave a comment down below and I will be sure to write more on this subject.

Without further delay, let’s jump right into it.

Unsubscribe from coupon emails

Out of sight, out of mind. Having those email coupons inundate your inbox can make even the strongest wills break. Just like that old trick of freezing your credit card so you don’t use it, people have gone through very drastic steps to avoid overspending. This is one of the easiest steps to take. If you can’t see the new cool things being released by your favorite brands, you won’t be tempted to break budget and splurge. This goes for clothing stores, amazon, kindle, music releases, etc. Unsubscribing will leave your inbox cleaner, and your mind happily oblivious to the new trends in consumerism.

Cash back only works if you pay off your card each month

It might be really tempting to assume, “oh, well I can just put this on my credit card. I’m getting cash back on all my purchases, after all.” Wrong. Unless you consecutively pay your card down to zero at the end of the month, that cash back is pennies compared to the interest you are being charged by having a balance left on your card, and can actually end up costing you money. You might think you are saving money by using your card more, but unless you are paying it off each month, that money back bribery is costing you more. So you might have $16 of cash back and think, “Alright! I’m getting cash back!” but if you take the time to read your bill, you may find that your monthly interest cost for that month is $32, leaving you paying $16 more. If, however, you are one of those people who is consistent with paying off your card, that cash back is indeed beneficial.

Create a budget

Creating a budget is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself if you are trying to save money. A lot of people have no idea what’s going on with their finances, or leave the finances up to their partner. While it might be nice not to have to worry about money every second of the day, by avoiding the problem, you are often only making it worse. If you know you are currently having money issues, the only thing there is to do is to look into the problem and find out why. Just like looking under a bandaid at a nasty cut, no one wants to do it, but if you leave it, the problem could become much worse. The first step to correcting your financial troubles is to get control of them, and by control, I mean you should know where every single penny that comes into your pocket is going. You can find out more about creating a budget in my post, How to Budget in Your Twenties.

Cancel subscriptions you don’t really need

Are you one of those people who is subscribed to every internet platform possible? Maybe you have a YoutubeRed account, an 8Tracks account, you are paying for a domain, and Amazon Prime too. Oh, and let’s not forget netflix. All those monthly subscriptions can add up. Ask yourself if you really need to be subscribed to all those things. Sit down and figure out which ones can be eliminated, and then take the steps to cancel those expenses.

Do more home cooking

Eating out can be extremely expensive, especially if it includes alcoholic beverages. This is another category where, if you don’t keep track of your spending, can end up getting out of control fast. You can still enjoy the occasional dinner out (alcoholic beverages included), but another suggestion is to try your hand at more home cooking. By buying discount food items at the store and preparing the food at home, you can end up saving a ton of money. Not only can you make delicious meals to your liking, but you can hone your cooking skills too. There are a ton of youtube videos that discuss buying weekly or monthly groceries for a certain budget, and shows you how to prepare your ingredients if you are unsure how to cook them.

Carpool

Are you and a friend going to the same place? It would be silly to spend two trips worth of gas when you could ride together for one. Switch it up weekly so that the cost of gas is evenly distributed between the group. It’ll give you more time to chat with them, and save you money at the same time. Make sure your friends don’t abuse this system, though, by making you drive every time.

Shop sales

If you do find yourself out at a store, whether for clothes or food, by shopping sales you can end up saving more money than you would think. So you’ve unsubscribed from those clothing store coupons, but you know there’s a sale coming up at the end of the month. Stores usually post sales for major holidays and semi annually. If you are familiar with these schedules, it’s easy to plan your shopping days when you know there will be a sale going on. When you go into the store, be sure to start your shopping trip at the back near the clearance items. This is a great way to find cheaper clothing first, and if you don’t find anything you like, then you can browse the newer collection.

Use coupons

When I was growing up, I remember going to the grocery store with my mother and watching her pull out her divided wallet of coupons. She already had a stack together based on what she knew she would buy, and she handed that over to the cashier. It can be tedious finding coupons, but when you’re really pinched for cash, just remember that this option is always available. It might not save you a ton of money, but if you are doing a big shopping trip, it’s one of those things that can add up to quite a savings.

Avoid late fees

These things are so annoying and they always make me so angry. If you are late paying a bill–or worse, overdraw your account–they charge you a fee. Usually this fee is quite a lot of money, upwards of $30. Now, if you are late paying a bill or overdraw your account, chances are you didn’t have the money to begin with. So what do they do? Charge you more. Luckily I pay enough attention to my account balances and bills that this rarely happens for me, but it can be a pain when it does happen. No one ever expects it, and the additional fee can really throw a wrench in things. Again, the best way to avoid this is to stick to budget and make sure you know where your money is going.

Use your library

The library isn’t just for books. You can find lots of stuff there, including free internet, magazines, movies, and cds. Best of all, a library card is free. If you find yourself short on cash, but still want to enjoy a recreational past time like reading or watching movies, check them out of your library. As long as you return them within the certain amount of time, it’s all free. You can read classics all the way to modern publications if you time it right, and their selection of movies is pretty broad too. If your local library doesn’t have what you are looking for, there are always other branches you can travel to in order to find what you want. I personally love libraries and the quite spaces you can find in the corners amidst the books. It’s great for reading, studying, browsing the internet, or socializing. In fact, most libraries these days double as a community center. You can find cheap or free classes depending on where you live. For example, the Pittsburgh Carnegie library offers free language classes! How cool is that?

Make your morning coffee at home

Starbucks are on every block these days, and it’s so tempting to stop by one on your way to work, but just like everything else, morning coffees can add up. If you are someone who needs the caffeine to function, consider preparing your own coffee at home. By buying in bulk from the grocery store, you can save some extra cash, and it doesn’t take that long to brew a fresh pot or cup. Kurig’s can get expensive, but if you stick to grounds or whole beans, you can use as much or as little as you want, making it last as long as you want too.

Know when to keep or throw away groceries

How many times have you gone to the store, bought kale, spinach, and limes with every intention of using them, but at the end of the month find yourself always throwing them away because they’ve spoiled? This happens more often than I’d like to admit. If you know you really aren’t going to use quickly perishable items, why buy them in the first place? Shop intentionally. If you have a recipe that calls for fresh vegetables, then by all means buy them and use them, but don’t just go through the store picking up things randomly if you have no idea what you’re going to use them for. They’re just going to sit in your fridge until you clean it out and throw them away. Conversely, there are also people who don’t know when to throw their produce or meats away, and end up throwing away perfectly good food. Do some research as to the shelf life of the foods you buy so you can better determine what is spoiled and what isn’t.

Save a small percentage each paycheck

This is one of those points that usually gets a lot of shit thrown at it from people who argue “If I’m broke, do you really think I’m saving anything?” Well you should be! Even if it’s five dollars per pay, over time that builds up to quite a savings. Everyone should have a small savings amount for emergencies so that you don’t find yourself in a situation where you can’t pay for something serious like a doctor’s or dentist’s visit. And yes, this might mean that you have to take that money away from an area like “eating out”, but that’s just called prioritizing. As a twenty-something, you should be old enough to know that sometimes you have to forgo the fun things in order to make sure the important things are taken care of.

Skip the gym

Gyms are expensive. You know what’s cheaper? Not going to the gym. There are ways to exercise without one. If you like your cardio, you can go running at a local park. If you’re more on the slower side of things, you can buy a set of weights at someplace as simple as walmart, and while it does cost something to invest in weights, it’ll be a lot cheaper than paying a monthly bill to a gym. And if you are one of those people who like the social aspect of the gym, there are ways around that too. There are plenty of apps these days that allow you to connect with others during your workout challenges. Fitocracy and Sparkpeople are just a couple of the free apps that I have used in the past. You can get motivated, add friends, and share your progress with people just like you. My favorite free forms of working out are doing yoga along with Yoga With Adrienne’s videos on youtube and going walking at my local park.

Thrift or buy used

That song doesn’t lie. It really does cost $50 for a t-shirt depending where you shop. Buying new clothes from the brandname stores can get pricey. One of my favorite stores is Torrid, and I can only afford to shop there sporadically because they are so dang expensive. What alternatives are there? You can check your local thrift stores for gently used clothes, or check sites like ebay. One of my favorite youtubers, Kiera Rose, always posts thrift-haul videos where she shows the super cute clothes she found for two or three dollars at her local thrift stores. If you travel to thrift stores where you know rich people live, you are more likely to find better clothes. I once found a real fur coat by traveling to a thrift store in the Latrobe area, where there is a small population of rich folks. Thrifting can be very time and energy consuming, so I suggest you go when you are in a shopping mood and not looking for anything specific, because you probably won’t find it. But thrifting is good for when you want some new clothes without breaking your budget.

Keep track of donations so you can claim them on your taxes

If you sort through your clothes and end up getting rid of four garbage bags worth of stuff, you can write that off on your taxes. If you get rid of furniture or baby items, you can write that off on your taxes. Of course, we’re talking pennies here, but hey, if you really want to take advantage of your government benefits, this is totally an option. The more you give away, the more you can claim. This also counts for monetary donations for charity.

Turn off electronics you are not using

Again, we are talking pennies, but I wanted to include this one because how many times have you walk out of a room without turning off the light? How many of you leave your chargers plugged into your phone or computer? Even though the cost is marginal, by being vigilant of how much electricity you are using, you can be more conservative with your bills. Turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth. Take faster showers. These are all things you can do to ensure your apartment bills are at least a few dollars cheaper. I mean, if you really want to be that nit-picky.


That’s it for this post! Do you have any suggestions for saving money? I’d love to hear from you!

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications!

Sunday Pep Talk | Life is Beautiful

Take a moment today to sit back and enjoy the beauty of the natural world. Open your windows. Go for a walk. Breathe in the fresh air and hear the birds singing in the trees. When you find your heart troubled, take a step away from that which stresses you and find solace in the beauty around you. Take a break from your productivity and set aside a few moments to just be. Breathe deep. Be grateful. Begin again tomorrow.

How To Budget In Your Twenties

Money is weird.

Getting money is even weirder. And by weird, I mean oxymoronically frustrating and annoying. You want it, you need it, and yet you hate it for holding you back, keeping you from doing the things you love, or landing you with no food to eat. That’s your first problem, and mine too. I was thinking about money all wrong. The constant pressure I felt from my finances left me with a hatred towards the very thing I wanted to get more of, and it created a really confusing, negative mindset.

How many of you get sick when you think of your debt? How many of you live from paycheck to paycheck, counting everything you buy to make sure you’ll have enough to afford the necessities? Ick. That’s no way to live. In this post I am going to share with you my tips and tricks on how to get your money issues under control so you can stop worrying about the financial debt monster.

Money is weird. But you don’t have to hate it!

So where should we begin?

Step 1 | The first thing you need to do is sit down and have a long talk with yourself.

Get honest about your relationship with your finances. If you can’t admit that you have a problem, you can’t work towards improving your situation. If you know you overspend, acknowledge it! If you aren’t good with prioritizing funds, that’s ok! By realizing that something needs to change, you can begin taking the first steps to getting into a better financial position in life.

After having this pragmatic intervention with yourself, you are going to need some tools.


Collect the following:

  1. Paper
  2. Pen
  3. Colored highlighters or markers (At least 6)
  4. Your bank statement from the last three months
  5. Your cellphone
  6. A calculator
  7. A yummy beverage

Once all of the supplies are gathered, proceed to step 2


Step 2 | Tally your spending

Go through your bank statement a write down all the withdrawals made from your account within the last three months. Exclude transfers and deposits. Neither will count for this step. Only focus on money that has left your possession in exchange for goods or services. Write these all down in a neat little list with three columns. One will be for the date of the withdrawal. The second column will be for the name of the item. And the last column will be for the amount spent. I know this step can be scary, but it’s like pulling off a band aid. You just gotta do it! After you have all the things written down, add them up with a calculator and write down the total. For the example below I made up a mock spread just to give you an idea of how it should look.

20180927_1429507204677870499041942.jpg

Step 3 | Tally your earnings

Next, go through your bank statement and write down all of the deposits made into your account in the last three months. This means money that came into your possession. It could be from allowance, a paycheck, odd jobs, or questionable sexual favors performed for money which is probably definitely qualified as prostitution but you don’t want to talk about it because everything is fine and you feel fine and he gave you fifty bucks to bounce on a big blue ball and you’d have to be crazy not to accept that kind of check! Ahem…no matter the source of the deposit, tally these all together and just like before, write down the total underneath or around the total from expenditures.

Step 4 | Find the difference

Maaaath! Yep, more math. Don’t worry, we’re not done with the calculator yet either. Subtract the amount of the withdrawals from step one from the amount of deposits in step two. This will let you see how much of your income you spend in a three month span. Depending on how good or bad you are with your finances, this could be a relieving number, or a terrifying number. And if you clicked this post, chances are it’s more on the terrifying end. I did this step and ended up with a negative number. It’s ok. That’s why you’re here. Take a sip of your delicious beverage. Continue to step five.

Step 5 | Categorize the expenditures

Go back to the first list you made. This is where you get to have fun with your highlighters. This is by far the best step. Go through and highlight with one color all your food expenditures. With another color highlight all your car expenditures. Another color for rent. Another for phone. Another for fun/entertainment. Another for subscriptions. You can separate this step into as many categories you want. The point is that you learn where most of your money is going. Do you spend it all on eating out with friends? Do you have too many subscriptions? More than you thought you did?! Take a sip. Continue to step six.

Step 6 | Tally each color

Add up all the pink costs and put them into a category. Then tally all the other pretty colors into separate categories. For this step I color coded the name of the category with the color I used to highlight the costs. This will really give you the big picture of where most of your money is going. For me, my biggest category was bills. Obviously. We all spend a fortune on bills. That’s inevitable. But where are your other high categories? Did you spend $1000 on eating out at restaurants within three months? Maybe that’s a bit too high for your salary range. Maybe you need to cut back on that. So after you have each color coded category totaled, add all the categories together. It should match the number from step 1. If it doesn’t, you did the math wrong. Go back and recount. If it does match, move on to step 7. As you can see below, I am bad at math, and only human. I hope your calculations look neater than mine.

20180927_1430098109130558162324394.jpg

Step 7 | Cry a lot

Just kidding.

Step 7 | Designate funds

How much do you want to spend in each category? This is where the budgeting part comes into play. Make a hypothetical spending allotment for the coming month. Want to spend only $60 eating out next month? Allot it. Want to save $200? Allot it. Once money is allotted to savings it cannot be touched. It is spoken for. That money hypothetically does not exist anymore. That’s the point of savings. Likewise, if you have money in your account but know it will be used for your new car you need to buy, your next months rent, or any other big expense, it is untouchable. So just because your savings account says $5600 doesn’t mean you have $5600 of usable money. That money is spoken for. It is up to you how to divide and designate your money. For example, I have money set aside for a new car, travel, apartment spending, an emergency fund, etc.

Step 8 | Create your envelopes

The last step, and another fun one, is creating your envelopes. You can do this as a bullet journal spread or just jot it down on a piece of spare paper. Draw an envelope for every category you have a color for. Write down the name of the category along with the allotment you created in step 7. As you spend that allotment, fill in the envelope. Example:

20180927_1430295670263009725743762.jpg

For example, if you want to keep your entertainment/fun spending below $100 for the month, make an envelope with ten markings on the side like a ruler. As you spend that money, fill in each row with the color you chose. When the envelope is fully colored, that means you are out of money for that category and are cut off from spending more.

You can, however, take money from one category and apply it to another. So if you ran out of money for monthly food, you can take money off your entertainment/fun envelope. To do this, simply color in the rows in the entertainment/fun envelope with the colors of the food envelope. That way you will know you spend that extra money in another category.

Also, if you have extra funds at the end of a month, you can roll that over into the next month or save it, depending on how you’re feeling. So if you have a $100 allotment for entertainment/fun and only spend $60, you can roll over the $40 to the next month so you can spend $140 total, or you can save the $40 and put it towards one of your larger payments like bills or a new car. When you have system down, transfer the final draft into your planner of choice. In the example below I have shown what the budget envelopes would look like as well as what the saving envelopes would look like as you continue to save money and fill in the envelopes.

wp-15380733153311691826197704648100.jpg

Budgeting is sort of like babysitting yourself. When you think about it, you have to keep your eye on yourself at all times or else you’ll end up drawing on the walls with crayons, or in this case, spending all your money on candy. A good babysitter wouldn’t allow either to happen. So this is really a lesson in discipline. It is about being intentional with every expenditure, of being aware of where your money is going and how often. If the babysitter analogy didn’t resonate with you, consider it like a boss running a business. A good boss knows what each of his employees is doing and at what time. An unsuccessful boss has no idea what is going on in his business and acts surprised when the company loses money. You have to own this shit, and reign yourself in when you know you’re running off budget.


Was this post helpful? Would you like to see more finance posts in the future? Let me know in the comments down below, and also let me know if you have any other tips and tricks for budgeting!

Take care, and don’t forget to take your medication!